Next Application Deadline April 1 Get Info

Launch a career managing development initiatives that address critical issues including poverty, disaster relief, education, and health.

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Social Change is specifically designed to give you real-world experience before you graduate, culminating in a semesterlong practicum working for an organization like Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. State Department, a range of NGOs, and private companies.

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Fall or Spring 42 3 semesters
(12–16 months)
Monterey, California Live

Find out if MPA is right for you

Event poster showing tanks at a military museum
Dr. Thor Sawin leads a fieldwork program for Middlebury Institute students to the Balkans to explore the events after the breakup of Yugoslavia and analyze the roles identity, religion, language, and political ideology played in the conflict. Dr. Sawin will discuss what his students discovered in the most recent trip and share how some of the ideologies in the time period leading up to the breakup of Yugoslavia are still present today. He will compare and contrast what has been effective in transforming the postconflict societies that they visited. Sign up.

Study In Person and/or Online

Your courses are available in person and online. You may start and complete your entire degree program remotely if you pursue full-time enrollment in the 12-month option—please note that many of your online courses will be live (synchronous) so you will have to keep time zones in mind. The faculty, curriculum, and per-credit cost are the same for both formats so you will have the flexibility to study online or in person, or easily switch between the two experiences as your personal and professional needs allow.

Working Toward Social Good

Launch Your Career

Career and Academic Advising

Your career and academic advising are integrated, ensuring you align your coursework with your career goals. Our experienced advisors will guide you from course registration to preparing for interviews, negotiating your employment offers, and managing your career.

Alumni Network

Our large and influential alumni network in California, Washington, D.C., and other centers of local and global development is eager to help you prepare for your next steps. Our Middlebury in DC office provides the entire Middlebury community with a wealth of resources. Furthermore, our annual Career Exploration Week in the nation’s capital gives you facilitated and direct access to D.C.-based employers and our alumni who help us to plan the event. 


Our graduates are often hired before they complete their program, leveraging real-world projects from their classes, internships, and practica to showcase their relevant professional experience. They are thriving in careers at organizations like the United Nations, Catholic Relief Services, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Explore careers in public administration.


Versatile Leadership

We prepare you for long-term professional success through courses in organizational and program management and leadership. You will develop a well-rounded set of competencies in finance, evaluation, data analysis, social change, and more. You will be prepared to lead and collaborate in project teams, specialized departments, or organizations that work for social change, including NGOs, governments, and UN agencies around the world. 

Local Meets Global

Your case studies, class projects, intercultural training, and language studies will enrich you with local, regional, and global contexts. You will learn to translate ambitious missions and goals into impactful social change programs by engaging in intimate discussions, hands-on projects, and fieldwork that may take you as far as Rwanda or as close as the challenges of central California.

Practical Experience

Your classes will often feature work with real clients, allowing you to develop practical skills before you graduate. The final semester practicum can be completed remotely in the summer, spring, or fall semester. You can earn your degree in 12 consecutive months to accelerate your return to the workforce or in 16 months giving you the flexibility to gain more practical experience via summer internships.

Language Studies and Intercultural Competence

Bridging cultural and linguistic barriers is key to a successful career in policy and development, so you will take content courses in a second language and/or courses in intercultural competence.

Explore your curriculum.

42 -credit master’s
12 -month option
16 -month option

Joint Master’s Degrees

You can earn two master’s degrees in just four semesters and 60 credits, setting yourself up for a unique career trajectory.

Customize Your Degree

The flexibility in our curriculum gives you opportunities to customize your degree through career-related electives, a professional practicum, internships, studying a second language and/or intercultural competence, joint degrees, optional specializations in financial crime management and other in-demand fields, and Peace Corps integrations.

Check out the program details for your options.

Faculty: Professors and Practitioners

While other graduate schools rely on teaching assistants, our students have direct access to our faculty, who combine academic expertise with years of professional experience in major international organizations, including UNCHR (the UN Refugee Agency), USAID, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department.

Your professors are committed to your success and, together with your career and academic advisor, will become your mentors and colleagues throughout your career. 

Meet your faculty.

Research and Practice

Build valuable professional experience while earning your degree through our research centers, labs, and initiatives:

Financing Your Education

We offer a variety of resources to make your program more affordable including merit, need-based, partner, and external scholarships for both U.S. and international students. Your personal enrollment advisor is also available to help you think through financing this important investment in your career development.

The 12-month and 16-month options for this program allow you to get back into the workforce—earning a salary—faster and to potentially save on housing costs.

Learn more about scholarshipsfinancial aid, and your tuition costs.

How to Apply

We take a holistic approach when considering your application, looking at your academic background, international exposure, professional experience, and career goals. We welcome applicants with or without work experience, and our program has numerous opportunities for you to gain professional experience before you graduate. This approach aligns with the Institute’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We do not require GRE or GMAT scores for our master’s programs but competitive scores may strengthen your application and positively influence scholarship decisions.

Learn how to apply.

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MPA Career Outcomes

Our graduates find rewarding careers in social change, disaster relief, and democratic governance organizations around the world.

Career Outcomes

employed or continuing education within one year of graduation
different employers of recent graduates
using a second language at work

How will you change the world?

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What makes us different?

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Next Application Deadline: April 1

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